I am teaching in a post-secondary college environment and most of my courses, if not online, are blended (combination of lecture and online content). Using a Community of Inquiry (COI) framework brings learners together to promote a good educational experience. There are three presences to consider with developing a COI: social, cognitive, and teaching.  I have tried to choose practical strategies that could be easily incorporated into existing courses on this infographic.

Social Presence:

The goal with social presence is to promote group togetherness (cohesion) and open communication.  Strategies for facilitators to promote social presence include:

  • Organize an online introductory activity such an icebreaker to allow learners and instructor to interact early in the course an promotes ongoing social interaction.
  • Create an FAQ (frequently asked questions) about the course so learners have information about technology to be used in the course and recommendations on the experience of online learning.
  • Virtual check in or chats can be organized at appropriate intervals of the course to allow for instructor-student interaction. This can be synchronous or asynchronous depending on appropriate context.

Cognitive Presence:

The goal with cognitive presence is to promote purposeful inquiry. Strategies for promoting cognitive presence include:

  • Collaborative learning activities such as group assignments promotes students to work together to build knowledge.
  • Online forum discussions if facilitated effectively can become course content that students learn from.
  • Summarizing discussions allows the facilitator to take points from each student to inclusively reveal important points back to students.

Teaching Presence:

The goal of teaching presence is to design, facilitate and direct learning. The main parts of teaching presence are organization and design, facilitation, and direct instruction. Some strategies for promoting teaching presence include:

  • Design the course with activities promoting discourse. This includes considering structure, assessment methods, and especially interaction components.
  • Establish presence early by posting a welcome message. This sets up the learning climate and can enhance motivation and positive attitudes towards the course.
  • Posting weekly course announcements directs instruction by summarizing expectations for the week, including due dates and activities. It also provides a sense to the students that there is an overarching “grand plan” in place for the course.



Anderson, T.,Rourke, L.,Garrison, D.,& Archer,W.(2001). Assessing teaching presence in a computer conferencing context. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 5(2). https://auspace.athabascau.ca/handle/2149/725

Boettcher, J.V.(n.d.). Ten Best Practices for Teaching Online. Design for Learning. http://designingforlearning.info/writing/ten-best-practices-for-teaching-online/

Garrison, D., & Arbaugh, J.(2007) Researching the community of inquiry framework: Review, issues, and future directions. Internet and Higher Education (10) 157-172.https://doi-org.ezproxy.royalroads.ca/10.1016/j.iheduc.2007.04.001

Lalonde C. (2020, August 22). Facilitating in a Community of Inquiry [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/Nv1bUZv5PLs

UMassAmherst Center for Teaching & Learning. (n.d.) How do I show teaching presence in online courses. https://www.umass.edu/ctl/how-do-i-show-teaching-presence-online-courses

Vaughan, N., Cleveland-Innes, M., & Garrison, D.(2013). Teaching in blended learning environments: Creating and sustaining communities of inquiry. Athabasca University Press. Chapter 3: Facilitation.pp.45-61. https://read.aupress.ca/read/teaching-in-blended-learning-environments/section/43261c4a-6d4c-44cf-8c7f-60bc306eb03a

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